Getting a new credit card can be exciting, especially if there is a generous opening bonus associated with it. Even for those of us that have been collecting points for years, there is something really exciting about getting approved and knowing that you’ll be earning a large opening bonus. However, I’ve messed up a few times when getting a new credit card. In fact, I once accidentally forgot to pay my statement balance, and even missed my window for my opening bonus! To help you avoid the same mistakes, I want to share some credit card tips when getting a new account.
1. Set-up auto-pay:
You should always pay off your statement balance, and the best way to do it is to automate the payment process. You can do this with all issuers. I usually opt to pay off the balance due on my statement. This is not the same as the minimum balance due. You definitely want to pay the full statement balance and not just the minimum balance.
Doing so means that you’ll never get hit with a late payment or interest fee. It’s probably the most important thing that I do when I get a new card, and I suggest setting it up as soon as you receive your new credit card.
Also, if you’re planning to use the new credit card with reoccurring expenses or subscriptions, like a utility bill or gym membership, then make sure you set it up with those vendors.
2. Set-up notifications:
I’ve set-up my accounts so that I receive a mobile notification if there is any charge on the card. I like to use the notification to remind me to update my expenses in You Need a Budget (YNAB). I also find it useful to keep track of any unauthorized charges. To be safe, I recommend setting up a notification for gas station and international charges. Stolen card numbers are often used at gas stations, so it’s good practice to monitor those charges.
3. Plan your strategy for meeting the minimum spend:
If you’re chasing an opening bonus, then it’s worthwhile to plan out how you are going to meet the minimum spend. If you need some ideas, check out our video on the topic.
4. Add your card to a tracker:
I like to log when I get new cards so that I can keep track of my application history and bonuses. If you need a tracker, check out our free Credit Card tracker on Google Sheets. For more details, check out our “How to Keep Track of Credit Cards” video.
5. Merge credit cards from the same issuer under one view:
For some reason, when I apply for new cards, I sometimes get a separate login for the card, even though I have other cards from the same issuer under a different login. I suggest calling the issuer to have your cards merged under the same log-in and view. That way you can monitor all your cards from the same issuer without having to manage multiple sign-ins.
Also, this can be useful if you have a separate personal and business account. For example, I have two Chase Ink Business cards, and some Chase personal cards. I called Chase to see if I could merge the views and they ended up moving all my personal credit cards into my business account view. Now I can see all my cards under one view, which saves me time and effort.
6. Save card details in a password manager:
I recommend saving the card number, expiration date, and security code in a password manager. It’s a secure and encrypted database, and a convenient way to store your details in case you lose your card or need to make a payment without your physical card in hand. I personally use 1Password as my password manager, but there are several options on the market. Fiona uses LastPass and seems like it a lot too!
7. Opt for paperless statements:
This is not only a more eco-friendly option, but it also reduces the chance of your statement being stolen or lost in the mail. With identity theft on the rise, it’s important to minimize the opportunities for someone to steal your information.
And those are my top tips when getting a new card. Do you have any tips or routines when you get new cards?